Adding Discussions to Custom Index

I have modified the Custom Index plugin to show only the User Welcome, TheWire, Recent Discussions, and Files. Everything works well except the discussions panel. It only shows links to discussion topics rather than the first lines of the topics (as a widget would). Here is the modified content.php:

<?php
/**
 * Elgg custom index layout
 *
 * This is just a helper view to make it easier to use Elgg's
 * page-rendering helper functions like elgg_view_page.
 */

$mod_params = array('class' => 'elgg-module-highlight');

?>

<div class="custom-index elgg-main elgg-grid clearfix">
    <div class="elgg-col elgg-col-1of2 custom-index-col1">
        <div class="elgg-inner pvm">
<?php
// left column

// Top box for login or welcome message
if (elgg_is_logged_in()) {
    $top_box = "<h2>" . elgg_echo("welcome") . " ";
    $top_box .= elgg_get_logged_in_user_entity()->name;
    $top_box .= "</h2>";
} else {
    $top_box = $vars['login'];
}
echo elgg_view_module('featured',  '', $top_box, $mod_params);

// a view for plugins to extend
echo elgg_view("index/lefthandside");

// thewire
if (elgg_is_active_plugin('thewire')) {
    echo elgg_view_module('featured',  elgg_echo("Member Posts"), $vars['thewire'], $mod_params);
}

// blog
if (elgg_is_active_plugin('blog')) {
    echo elgg_view_module('featured',  elgg_echo("custom:blog"), $vars['blogs'], $mod_params);
}

?>
        </div>
    </div>
    <div class="elgg-col elgg-col-1of2 custom-index-col2">
        <div class="elgg-inner pvm">
<?php
// right column

// a view for plugins to extend
echo elgg_view("index/righthandside");

// discussions
    if (elgg_is_active_plugin('recentdiscussions')) {
        $html = elgg_view('index/recentdiscussions');
        echo elgg_view_module('featured',  elgg_echo('Member Discussions'), $html, $mod_params);

// files
echo elgg_view_module('featured',  elgg_echo("Member Files"), $vars['files'], $mod_params);
}
?>
        </div>
    </div>
</div>

And here is the modified index.php:

<?php
/**
 * Elgg custom index page
 *
 * You can edit the content of this page with your own layout and style.
 * Whatever you put in this view will appear on the front page of your site.
 *
 */

elgg_push_context('front');

elgg_push_context('widgets');

$list_params = array(
    'type' => 'object',
    'limit' => 4,
    'full_view' => false,
    'list_type_toggle' => false,
    'pagination' => false,
);

//grab the latest 4 blog posts
$list_params['subtype'] = 'blog';
$blogs = elgg_list_entities($list_params);

//grab the latest wire posts
$list_params['subtype'] = 'thewire';
$thewire = elgg_list_entities($list_params);

//grab the latest discussion posts
$list_params['subtype'] = 'recentdiscussions';
$recentdiscussions = elgg_list_entities($list_params);

//grab the latest files
$list_params['subtype'] = 'file';
$files = elgg_list_entities($list_params);

//get the newest members who have an avatar
$newest_members = elgg_list_entities_from_metadata(array(
    'metadata_names' => 'icontime',
    'type' => 'user',
    'limit' => 10,
    'full_view' => false,
    'pagination' => false,
    'list_type' => 'gallery',
    'gallery_class' => 'elgg-gallery-users',
    'size' => 'small',
));

//newest groups
$list_params['type'] = 'group';
unset($list_params['subtype']);
$groups = elgg_list_entities($list_params);

//grab the login form
$login = elgg_view("core/account/login_box");

elgg_pop_context();

// lay out the content
$vars = array(
    'blogs' => $blogs,
        'thewire' => $thewire,
    'recentdiscussions' => $recentdiscussions,
    'files' => $files,
    'groups' => $groups,
    'login' => $login,
    'members' => $newest_members,
);

$body = elgg_view('custom_index/content', $vars);

// no RSS feed with a "widget" front page
elgg_unregister_rss_link();

echo elgg_view_page('', $body);


Any help? Thanks.